Writing

Deploy Empathy

Deploy Empathy is a practical guide to interviewing customers. The book was written in public as a newsletter and is now available to order.

Michele’s Customer Research Guides

I love helping people figure out how to do customer research. But I find myself without one book to send people to help them get started and gett over that initial hump of finding people and figuring out *exactly* how to talk to them. So I’m going to start writing some more blog posts. They won’t be in a particular order, and maybe I’ll turn them into a book one

How We Bootstrapped: The Nitty Gritty

The first year of a business can be the most precarious. You don’t know if things work. You don’t know how you’ll pay for them. You don’t know how it will turn out. So it makes sense that there is intense interest on how companies got started. I get questions about this often, so I wanted to break it down — with real numbers and cents — exactly how we

Health Insurance Options for Bootstrapped Entrepreneurs: A Guide

This post is a companion to the Software Social episode on Health Insurance for Bootstrappers. There’s no getting around it: health insurance is a huge hassle and expense in the US. The number #1 thing that kept us back from going full-time on our then-side project, Geocodio, was the scary part about dealing with health insurance. I had previous experience buying health insurance on behalf of an employer, and I

Using Customer Portfolio Analysis to Weather the Storm as a Bootstrapper

It’s been a hell of a week. I will not mince words: the news is all-consuming right now. And if your brain is like mine, when it takes a break from thinking about our public health emergency it jumps to the next big risk: the economy. And our business. And how things will go. And it’s scary to think about. We all knew the risks of working for ourselves. But

Tips for Getting Useful User Feedback

On Monday, I gave a short attendee talk at MicroConf Growth on how to conduct user interviews and usability sessions. It was only twelve minutes, though, so I had to focus it on the key point: Getting useful user feedback is all about how you act. To find your user’s pain points (and in turn opportunities for your business), you need to make them feel comfortable being open and vulnerable with you. This means you

Bootstrapping a Business: 5 Years In

Retrospective on 5 years of Geocodio at IndieHackers in January 2019. Read the original post on IndieHackers On January 21, 2014, Geocodio was officially launched into the world. By some miracle of luck, we landed on the front page of Hacker News for almost the whole day. In the pre-Product Hunt era, this was about as good as a launch could possibly go. The traffic surge quickly faded and not everyone had

Getting Started with User Interviews in 3 Steps

It’s frustrating to look at your metrics and wonder why you have high dropoff, low conversion, or low engagement. Ultimately, there’s only so much digging you can do in Google Analytics or a spreadsheet before you need to try something different. Google Analytics will tell you that people are doing things. But it will never tell you why. It will never tell you their motivations, their frustrations, and what they’re trying to do.

5 Things I’ve Learned After Going Full Time on My Side Project

This past summer, my husband/co-founder and I had the opportunity to speak at Laracon 2017 on Launching & Scaling a Side Project. In the talk, we talked about what we’ve learned launching (…and scaling!) Geocodio, which we started as a side project in January 2014. It’s been quite the journey, and we wanted to share what we’ve learned with others to fuel their own entrepreneurial efforts. We made sure to mention that

Congratulate Your Users

Note: I wrote this just before leaving The Motley Fool. I had so much fun working on product there and I’m still incredibly proud of the work we did together. Something I’ve become excited about in the past year is increasing users’ self-esteem, especially in situations where they wouldn’t normally expect it. From retail to investing, it’s a small but high-impact way to increase user satisfaction and delight. Even things